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In this issue

What Makes Log Finish "Green"

By Vince Palmere

We know that in today’s environment being “green” is considered an important factor in the decision process of many of our customers. Being “green” is one reason why log homes are so popular. But what about the finishes used on log homes, can they be “green” as well? The answer depends on the criteria used to define “green.” Up to this point we have chosen not to label our products as “green” since the term has no defined meaning and there is no authority with the authorization to control its use.

For example there are several manufacturers of oil-based finishes that claim their products are “green” since they contain linseed or soybean oil which are renewable resources. What they don’t say is that their products also contain large amounts of petroleum-based solvents and the only way to clean-up these products is to use turpentine or mineral spirits, products that fall under regulated disposal requirements due to their toxicity and high environmental impact.

One standard for being “green” is the amount of volatile organic compounds (VOC) contained in a product. Both state and federal agencies regulate the amount of allowable VOCs contained in coatings since VOCs have been implicated in both depletion of the ozone layer and global warming. These regulations have had a serious impact on oil-based products forcing manufactures to reduce solvent content by adding fillers and other solids with a subsequent reduction in attractiveness and performance.

All of Perma-Chink Systems’ LIFELINE brand stains are water-based products that contain no petroleum distillates and comply with all state and federal regulations for contained volatile organic compounds (VOC). Ever since our inception in 1981 we at Perma-Chink Systems, Inc. have always tried to formulate our products to have the least impact on our environment. In addition, being concerned with providing living areas as healthy as possible our interior finishes are specifically formulated to meet the highest interior air quality standards.

Our stains and sealants are recognized by environmental organizations as being truly “green” since they have minimum impact on the ecosystem. And since clean-up requires only soap and water, they do not contribute any toxicants or pollutants to our surroundings.

It’s a sad fact that being “green” has become a meaningless term used by companies’ marketing departments to help promote and sell their products. We are proud to say that our technical staff will continue to produce and develop superior products that do not damage our environment and have no adverse health effects on either the people applying our products or those individuals who live in homes stained or sealed with materials supplied by Perma-Chink Systems, Inc.

Chink Me Now or Seal Me Later

By Chris Wood, Hearthstone Log Homes

Having began our career in log home restoration many moons ago, we've worked with all types of timber. This includes 200 year old 'seasoned' material, trees salvaged from the river bottoms and lakes, timbers air dried naturally for two years, freshly cut trees from the Eastern and Western US and Canada, standing dead, laminated logs and now vacuum-kiln material. We've seen them all. All this wood has one thing in common: It still shrinks and it still settles.

To what degree is subject to debate. Some of this shrinkage is measurable. There are complex calculations to determine the amount shrinkage in fractions of an inch based on moisture content and species. But these aren't adjusted for real-world application such as the percentage of "heartwood" vs. "sapwood", the altitude or latitude in which it was grown (shortness of seasons), the tightness of rings (old growth vs. new) and the type of cut (boxed heart vs. free of heart center---FOHC).

If timber can be dried down to 12% consistently, you will see minimal shrinkage thereafter. But shrinkage from moisture only accounts for HALF of the settling.

The other half comes from compression. This is driven by the weight of the roof (with a full snow load). It is helped by the weight of the second (and third) floors. And it is accelerated by the use of throughbolts and compression springs. The harder or more dense the wood, the less settling from compression. All told, the longer you take to build a home and the later you design and install the finished stair system, the better.

Most shrinkage and settling is unpredictable. Relative humidity, snow loads, prevailing winds, exposure to rain and sun, type of fasteners, throughbolts, adjoining structures, covered up screw jacks, hidden fasteners, window & door trim and interior partitions nailed up tight----all real-world issues that should be managed.

We have seen 200 year old bone-dry material recycled in a dovetailed system compress and settle one inch in nine feet after the weight of the floor and roof is applied. For this reason, we still engineer for shrinkage and settling in our log homes, even if HeartDried® to the core. In fact, the new International Residential Code calls for log home manufactures to detail for shrinkage, unless they can prove less than 1/2" movement for every 8'-0" in height.

Chink me now, or chink me later! In the old days, there was mortar mix and chicken wire to use between the hewn logs. We would painstakingly splice and dovetail these old timbers and make certain it was perfect. During the higher humidity summer months, these joints would swell tight. Come winter when humidity dropped, these same joints opened up ever so slightly.

Then came Perma-Chink®. Making the home weather tight around the chink joints became easy. It stretched and compressed and moved with the seasons. Attractive colors were added the battle of the chink space was solved.

But what about log-on-log? Over the years, we've seen many folks initially object to "that white stripe" and rule out our chink style for someone else's log on log. Then after two good years of living in the home and dealing with real-world issues, they're back to caulking or chinking the seams to make it weather tight.

A solution for these log-on-log clients has finally arrived in custom Energy Seal® colors to match the Lifeline interior and exterior stain. No more worry about last minute touch up or sealing gaps in trim with caulking that doesn't match. For those who don't want the color and performance of chinking, they now have an attractive alternative with Energy Seal. A case of interior and exterior should be priced and sent with every home sold. Maybe the old saying should change to "Chink me now, or Seal me later"?

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The Proper Application of Finish Removers

By Vince Palmere

Many of the newer environmentally friendly finish removers like our S-100 and Eazy Strip are organic solvents. They do not dissolve a finish they only soften it enough so that it can be removed with a pressure washer. They must be in direct contact with the finish in order to work. If they are rinsed off of the surface there is a chance that the finish will become hard again even if the surface remains wet.

So let’s look at the consequences of applying a finish remover to an entire wall starting at the bottom of the wall and then pressure washing from the top down. First of all we all know that contact time plays an important role in the performance of any finish remover. If we apply the remover from the bottom up, which area of the wall has the shortest contact time? The top. So now we are going to start pressure washing that portion of the wall that has been in contact with the remover for the least amount of time.

Second, as we pressure wash the top of the wall what’s happening to the finish remover on the lower sections of the wall? As the water from the pressure washing flows down the side of the wall it’s washing the water-soluble finish remover off of the surface thus giving the finish time to re-harden before it gets hit by the pressure washer. The end result is a wall that may not be entirely stripped of its existing finish.

When using S-100 or Eazy Strip, work on small areas, preferably two or three courses of logs at a time. Start at the bottom of a wall and work up applying the product according to the directions on the label. Pay particular attention to the coverage rate. If applied too thinly, the finish remover may not produce the desired results. You may have to leave the product on the surface for a while in order to give it time to work. Be aware that the cooler the air temperature the longer it takes for the finish remover to work.

Once the finish has sufficiently softened, use a pressure washer to remove the finish and remover residue. Hold the tip at a 45° angle working your way along the wall. If you are removing a water-based film you can tell if you are holding the tip correctly by the “strings” of film produced by the removing process. Once the entire wall is stripped, thoroughly rinse the wall starting at the top and work your way down. We always recommend the use of pH strips to make sure that all chemical residue has been rinsed off of the wood before applying a new finish.

Quick Tips

Finish Removers: S-100 and Eazy Strip

* Apply to two or three courses of logs at a time.
* Start at the bottom and work your way up.
* Pressure wash from bottom to top.
* When wall is completely stripped, rinse wall from the top down.

Cleaners and Brighteners: Wood Renew, Log Wash and Oxcon

* Apply from the bottom up.
* Rinse from the top down.

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Osborn Brushes

By Vince Palmere

Osborn Buffing Brushes are excellent tools to help prepare the surface before the first coat of finish. They consist of nylon bristles impregnated with particles of silicon carbide which act as an abrasive. As their name implies, they are buffing brushes, not sanding brushes. So what’s the difference? Sandpaper and sanding disks are designed to remove the top layer of wood whereas Osborn Buffing Brushes are designed to smooth the surface of the wood without removing the entire top layer. So what are some applications for the use of Osborn Brushes?

1. When the surface has been stripped or pressure washed and you want to remove any feathering that may have occurred.
2. If the grain of the wood has been raised due to contact with water (mostly interior situations).
3. To remove mill glaze on interior and exterior wood surfaces.
4. To even out the texture of hewn surfaces since the flexible bristles reach the hills and valleys.
5. If a home has been blasted the use of an Osborn Brush can help reduce rough texture of the surface.

What are Osborn Brushes not suitable for?

1. To make a blasted surface completely smooth again.
2. To remove a finish.
3. To remove discolorations that go deep into the wood.

Osborn brushes are not an alternative to sandpaper or sanding disks. Sanders and sanding disks consist of rough, flat surfaces and will remove more wood on high spots than in depressions whereas Osborn Brushes pretty well follow the contour of the surface. Buffing the surface with an Osborn Brush is not a quick and easy job. To do the job right it may take an hour or so to buff 50 square feet.

We carry four different Osborn Brushes. For logs and log siding, we recommend using the flared 6” brushes to the 4” diameter ones since they do a better job and are easier to use. The 4” brushes may be used for small or tight areas.

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Perma-Chink’s Mobile Training Division Gears Up to Take Product and Application Procedures On the Road

By Tony Hudleston

Perma-Chink’s newly formed Mobile Training Division is now up and running. Our objective is to use our fully equipped van to conduct seminars and hands-on workshops at various locations around the country that are not close to any of our store or distributors. Our new 2008 Sprinter van is designed and stocked with various log wall mockups as well as products, tools and equipment used for the application of our sealants, stains and finishes in addition to the various aspects of routine log home maintenance.

Our mobile presentation is modeled after our popular weekend workshops that we have held at our store and distributor locations for several years. Now we have the ability to hold them wherever there are adequate facilities available. The purpose of our seminars is to teach anyone who plans to apply our products proper preparation and application procedures in order to insure the best possible look and performance of our premium sealants and finishes. Also included in our presentations will be a suggested routine maintenance schedule to keep your home healthy and beautiful while keeping the time and cost of maintenance to a minimum.

Our training program will start off with informative classroom presentations with time for questions and answers about our products and procedures including the “whys” of following these procedures. After the classroom presentations there will be a hands-on workshop demonstrating preparation and application tools and our various products. Everyone will have the opportunity try it themselves.

We are sure that everyone who attends one of our training programs will learn something new even if they have been professionally applying our products for many years. Check our website at for upcoming locations and dates of these informative seminars or you can call our toll free number 1-800-548-3554 to inquire about scheduling in your area. Be sure to ask for the Mobile Training Division as there will be a dedicated person to talk to who will know all of the details.

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D o n' t M i s s O u t
Application Workshops Fall 2008

* September 13 Knoxville, Tennessee
* September 26 Petersburg, Pennsylvania
* October 11 Knoxville, Tennessee
* October 25 Redmond, Washington
* November 8 Stevensville, MT
* November 15 Rifle, Colorado

If you would like a referral to an experienced contractor to perform an inspection, contact your nearest Perma-Chink Systems office.

If you like to request a copy of our newsletter for your friend, relative or neighbor, please call us, send an email to

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Copyrighted 2006.

Website Calico Communications & CG